AskDefine | Define equivocate

Dictionary Definition

equivocate v : be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information [syn: beat around the bush, tergiversate, prevaricate, palter]

User Contributed Dictionary



aequivocatus, present participle of aequivocari to be called by the same name, from Latin aequivocus: confer équivoquer. See equivocal.


  1. To use words of equivocal or doubtful signification; to express one's opinions in terms which admit of different senses, with intent to deceive; to use ambiguous expressions with a view to mislead; as, to equivocate is the work of duplicity.
    All that Garnet had to say for him was that he supposed he meant to equivocate. -Bp. Stillingfleet.
  2. To render equivocal or ambiguous.
    He equivocated his vow by a mental reservation. -Sir G. Buck.


to express one's opinions in terms which admit of different senses, with intent to deceive
to render equivocal or ambiguous

See also



  1. Form of Second-person plural imperative, equivocare#Italian|equivocare

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

about the bush, alternate, around the bush, avoid, back and fill, be untruthful, beat about, beat around, beg the question, bicker, boggle, cavil, change, choplogic, deceive, dither, dodge, double-talk, draw the longbow, duck, elude, escape, eschew, evade, evade the issue, exaggerate, falsify, fence, fib, fluctuate, hedge, hem and haw, hum and haw, lie, lie flatly, mince the truth, mince words, mislead, mystify, nitpick, obscure, oscillate, palter, parry, pendulate, pick nits, prevaricate, pull away, pull back, pussyfoot, put off, quibble, recoil, sheer off, shift, shift off, shilly-shally, shrink, shuffle, shy, shy away, shy off, sidestep, skirt, speak falsely, split hairs, step aside, story, stretch the truth, swerve, teeter, tell a lie, tergiversate, totter, vacillate, vary, waffle, ward off, waver, weasel, wobble
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